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Thursday, April 25, 2024

Sydney man jailed over SMS scam that fleeced victims of more than $100,000

A Sydney man has been jailed for two years after stealing more than $100,000 in an illegal SMS phishing scam that targeted 450 victims.

The 40-year-old man was sentenced to two years and eight months’ imprisonment after facing the Sydney Local Court on Friday. He was convicted of cybercrime offences including producing, supplying or obtaining data with intent to commit a computer offence, Australian Federal Police (AFP) said in a statement today.

The investigation began in September 2021, when the AFP obtained information about a series of suspicious website registrations suspected of being used to phish customers of Australian telecommunications providers and financial institutions.

The AFP in conjunction with the NSW Police Cybercrime Squad, executed a search warrant at the man’s Ryde home on 24 November last year. Police seized drug paraphernalia, sim cards, bank cards, electronic devices, mobile phones and storage devices during the raid.

Investigators were able to link the man to more than $100,000 stolen from the accounts of 39 people.

Police believe the scam started in 2018 and targeted customers of several banks and a telecommunication company.

The man used these webpages to lure Australian victims to enter their personal information, which he would subsequently use to access their telephone accounts, bank accounts and create new accounts without their knowledge.

The AFP worked with Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Telstra to identify victims who had entered information into these phony webpages. The companies placed additional security protocols on those account holders, helping prevent further funds being stolen from the accounts of another 16,147 Australians.

AFP Spokesperson Commander Chris Goldsmid said the AFP was responsible for preventing, disrupting and investigating cybercrime offences with significant impact on the Australian economy.

“The AFP is committed to tracking down cybercriminals and bringing them to justice, no matter where they are in the world,” Commander Goldsmid said.

Scammers will use any tools they can to exploit people for their own profit. The internet and other new technologies provide opportunities to remotely access potential victims.”

“We encourage Australians to protect themselves against phishing scams by carefully reviewing emails or SMS messages before clicking on any links.”

“Anyone who believes they have been a victim of a phishing scam, or who sees suspicious banking transactions should contact their bank and also report the matter via Report Cyber at cyber.gov.au.”

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